The Dangers of Disposable Wipes

The Dangers of Disposable Wipes

Initially hitting the market in the 1970s disposable wipes were sold only in the diaper section of supermarkets, but now they are available. From being an alternative cleaning agent for babies during diaper changes, the product has evolved, with facial wipes and hand sanitizing wipes flooding the market. These handy disposable wipes, said to be “flushable” are mislabeled though. While you can flush them down your toilet, there are many horror stories of drain pipes and home septic systems getting clogged as well. Here are some reasons why you should not dispose of disposable wipes down your drain.

Stop – Don’t Throw Disposable Wipes in Your Toilet!

Plumbing Waste Piping Systems: Are designed to safely eliminate solid human waste and toilet tissue, but not fibrous materials like wipes, paper towels or feminine products.

Disposable and flushable: Is it true that you can flush disposable wipes down the toilet?  The “flushable” term here means that it is easy to dispose of.  Wipes are disposable, but it did not say that you are to dispose of them down your toilets. Disposable means you throw them into a trash bin.     

Non-woven: The cloth used for disposable wipes is non-woven. It is a combination of many fibers, both natural and synthetic, to make it as thin yet as strong as possible despite its thinness. The cloth is manufactured by pressing together several fibers, such as rayon and cotton and plastic resins such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester. Disposable wipes use the same non-woven materials used in dryer sheets and baby diapers.

Not biodegradable: From the materials used in the manufacture of wet wipes, you can see that most of them are used to make plastic bottles and plastic bags, proof that the cloth is not biodegradable or at least will take a long time before it disintegrates. Compare that to ordinary toilet paper that shows partial disintegration while you are still using it or it gets in contact with liquid.

Attracts other waste materials: A typical residential toilet drain pipe is only about four inches thick. Since the disposable wipes are not so biodegradable and water just pass through them, they can accumulate inside the pipes, trapping other solid wastes, including grease. In time these waste materials can turn into a solid mass, which will clog your pipes, prevent waste from passing through and in time, you’ll end up with a problem that will require professionals to solve.

Clogged drains can back up throughout your house, which necessitates toilet repair. If the clog has already become a big problem, drain cleaning is necessary as the pipes may require removing to get to the clog. All these repairs cost money, something that you can prevent by not flushing disposable wipes in the toilet. Throw them in the trash bin instead.

If the clog is already there and DIY solutions no longer work, call for a professional service like Benicia Plumbing. We will come to your house to inspect and determine the extent of the problem. We may need to use a camera and snake in the drain to find the location of the clog, determine what is creating the problem and what method to use to remove the clog. Avoid costly drainpipe clogs. Do not flush those disposable wipes and call us for an annual drain cleaning service.

About Benicia Plumbing

At Benicia Plumbing, Inc., we’ve been serving our clients since 1975 and always looking  to utilize the latest technology in today’s plumbing world. By providing complete plumbing services to businesses, industry, homebuilders and homeowners throughout the northern California Bay Area, we’ve been able to stay at the forefront of this industry and succeed at a high level. 

Sources: Angie's List and DIY Channel